Skipping COVID Vaccine in Pregnancy Brings Big Risks to Mothers, Babies

By Stephen Reinberg, HealthDay reporter>

Friday, January 14, 2022 – Unvaccinated pregnant women put themselves and their babies at risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19, according to new research from Scotland.

For women infected with the virus within 28 days of their delivery, these complications include premature deliveries, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths. The study found that infant mortality was four times higher among unvaccinated women. They are also more likely than vaccinated women to spend time in the intensive care unit.

“There was no indication that vaccination against COVID-19 itself increased the risk of complications such as premature birth or infant deaths in the womb or in the newborn period,” said lead researcher Dr Sarah Stock, a senior clinical lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. Institute.

“Vaccinations are the safest and most effective way for women of all ages and backgrounds to protect themselves and their children from the effects of COVID-19,” she said. “And I would definitely say that if you are at any stage of pregnancy or hoping to become pregnant, we encourage vaccination against COVID-19.”

The new study – published on January 13 in nature medicine It included data on more than 87,000 women in Scotland who were pregnant between December 2020, when vaccination began, and October 2021.

During that time, fewer pregnant women were vaccinated against COVID than other women. Of the women born in October 2021, 32% were fully vaccinated, compared to 77% of women aged 18-44 who were not pregnant.

Of the nearly 5,000 pregnant women infected with COVID, 77% have not been vaccinated, Stock said.

The study found that about 12% of infected pregnant women received a single dose of the vaccine and 11% were fully vaccinated.

Among the children born to unimmunized women with COVID, 22.6 per 1,000 died. This compares to a mortality rate of 5.6 per 1,000 in the general population, according to the study. Also, 16.6% of babies were born prematurely, compared to 8% in the general population.

It could not be established whether these infant deaths and premature births were due to them not being vaccinated for COVID because the researchers did not have the mothers’ complete medical records.

Among women who gave birth within 28 days of vaccination, infant mortality and preterm birth rates were similar to those of the general population in Scotland.

The researchers found that among pregnant women with COVID who were admitted to the intensive care unit, 98% had not been vaccinated.

While the data was collected before the Delta and Omicron variants appeared, Stock said she sees no reason why vaccination isn’t effective in preventing COVID complications during pregnancy.

“We believe vaccination is the safest method, especially when those numbers are going up with Omicron, women should want to protect themselves and their children,” she said.

Dr. Timothy Raphael, MD, of the Department of Maternal and Fetal Medicine at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York, sees the same lack of vaccination among pregnant women in the United States.

“We need to do more not only to vaccinate and boost our pregnant patients, but also for all women of childbearing age, as less than half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned,” he said.

Raphael said these data support the importance of vaccination during pregnancy to prevent negative outcomes associated with COVID-19 for both mother and baby.

“From the available medical literature, that’s what we know so far,” he said.

According to the study, pregnant women with COVID symptoms had a three times greater likelihood of ending up in the intensive care unit and two times the risk of death.

She noted that vaccination does not increase the risks of future infertility, or adverse pregnancy outcomes, including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, birth defects, young children or neonatal death. Side effects of the injection during pregnancy are similar to those in the general population.

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